Title: Cave Story
Developer/Publisher: Studio Pixel/Nicalis
Price: 1200 Points
Release Date: March 22, 2010
Cave Story is an enhanced port of the free-ware PC game created by Daisuke Amaya, who goes by “Pixel” for his art name. The game on PC took him five years to make, and did all by himself. Nicalis took it to port this incredible experience to Wii. Is the 1200 Wii Points a worthy price for admission on the better graphics and new goodies? Continue reading to find out.
Cave Story contains multiple modes, most new to the game and exclusive on WiiWare. The original mode “Story Mode” now has three difficulty settings, easy (placing the main character in a yellow outfit), original (retaining the red getup) and hard (wears a blue outfit). Other modes include a Sanctuary Time Attack mode with challenges the player to complete a hellish section of the game that is used in Story Mode to lead to the best ending (fair warning players, this section is HARD, it WILL kick your ass). Also included in the release is a boss rush mode, allowing you to fight all the bosses in the game one after another, and the option to play the story mode with a different character, though little is different, it’s a nice add-on that will warrant another play-through to see what has changed.
Cave Story is a 2-d side-scrolling adventure-shooter. The game has 3 levels for all of its weapons, with EXP gained from fallen crystals dropped by foes. Take note however, the levels don’t last forever, as being damaged by anything takes away some EXP. Most weapons (only 3 don’t) have unlimited ammo, so you are free to blast away. At points in the game you can trade one of your weapons (The one called Polar Star) for different weapons, each has a plus and a negative, and these points are strewn across the story, it’s a nice touch that adds tactical thought into the game-play.
Cave Story puts the player in the shoes of a amnesiac character (named Quote in the PC release) who has no idea where he is or what is going on. After exploring a bit Quote runs into some colorful characters, mainly a crew of bunny-like creatures called Mimigas, and slowly begins to unravel the mystery surrounding the whole affair. The story may be a bit short (an normal play-through usually takes around 6 1/2 hours to complete for the normal ending) but it is engaging with well written characters, and great little hidden secrets (one example, folks, sleep in the bed of the purple Mimiga when you first get there, I won’t spoil anything, but you get a useless item that is just amusing because of it’s existence.) Overall the story has great moments throughout and shows that both Pixel, and Nicalis took great care in making sure the translation was a good effort.
Cave Story can be played via two ways, the Classic Controller or the Wii-mote turned sideways (NES Style). Both forms work very well as the controls are tight and responsive. Quote does have a bit of a floaty jump, but once you are used to it jumping, shooting and running in the game become second nature and are not a problem. This isn’t to say the game isn’t difficult, far from it. Cave Story is a decent challenge on the normal difficulty setting. An example of this, without spoiling anything, is the section for the normal ending, in which the player is tasked with fighting four bosses, with no saves, and a very minute amount of healing in between (the healing is remedied if you managed to save a very specific item), and even then the healing occurs between bosses 3 and 4. Health capsules are scattered through the world that increase your max health of course, but all of them are in fact optional, and some are hidden. No matter how much health you have though, the stage leading to the best ending will beat you into submission. Instant death traps are everywhere, and it will take serious skill to beat, we are talking Mega Man 2 + difficulty here folks.
All in all, the game feels right at home on Nintendo’s console, as if the PC release was just a test to see how well the game would be received before being released on it’s native console.
While the added modes bring substance to an already stellar game, the presentation got a major overhaul. All of the spites were redrawn by Pixel himself to have more detail and resolution. The backdrops and effects got the higher resolution and detail love too, and the game looks much better than the PC version, without losing any of the charm expressed. Plus it all runs at 60 frames per second, unlike the PC version’s 50.
Not all of the presentation change in the game is flawless however, some sound effects have been altered or changed, whether it’s intentional or a glitch is unknown, but it is easy to notice these changes, and although not game breaking in anyway, just seems a bit strange. Music fairs the same, the remixed tunes are great in their own right, but not all of the songs (albeit most in fact do) meet the great soundtrack from the original version.
Luckily, the original graphics and music are in fact in the package as an option from the title screen. However I noticed a strange flaw in the original music, aside from being lowered in sound quality (most likely to conform to Nintendo’s stupid size restriction of 48 megs), in at least one case (could be more, I didn’t play with the original tunes that long) the song didn’t loop correctly, instead stopping about 3 seconds short of the end and starting the whole song over. There is also a half second pause in the music when switching rooms. Again most of this isn’t game breaking, but they are legit bugs.
This is the definitive version of Cave Story, the new graphics, most of the new music, and the new modes prove this, adding in the 60 frames per second and the game is golden. This is quite possibly the best WiiWare release yet. It definitely has the most longevity of any other game on WiiWare.
Content Score: 9
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